Posted in Servant Leadership

Will Somebody Please Listen?

id-100149544The presidential election results were announced less than a week ago. In light of the current outcry, it may disappoint you to know that I avoid talking politics. I understand the power of politics. Policies can have a long-lasting and profound effect on our lives. While I take the responsibility to vote seriously and contact governmental officials regarding important issues, I believe my calling is to serve others in a way that transcends the political arena.

My purpose to love God and others goes beyond a person’s political or religious beliefs. I don’t have to see eye to eye in order to extend a hand of kindness. I may not agree with their viewpoint or lifestyle, but I can treat them with the respect they deserve as someone created in God’s image.

The term “servant leadership” is popular these days, especially within Christian circles. One of the distinguishing features of servant leadership is listening to others. Because their followers matter, they take time to ask questions, seeking to understand before being understood. There are so many divisive issues in our country right now. Some people are angry; others are living in fear. Sadly, I don’t see much listening going on.

It seems like everyone wants to be heard, but nobody knows how to listen. They may hear the words and ideas, but they don’t grasp what’s being said. They don’t put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

I think I have good ideas. I think my beliefs and lifestyle are pleasing to the Lord. I think my worldview is correct. So why should I feel threatened when others don’t agree? As someone who strives to be teachable, I want to understand how they came to their opinions. I want to hear about their journey.

I love public speaking, and I love interacting with others one-to-one, but I don’t shine in group settings. If I’m not in charge of a meeting, I am happy to be quiet. I like to listen to and consider the input of others. I offer my ideas, but if others talk over me I refuse to assert myself. I simply won’t compete to be heard. Decades of experience of not being heard has forged in me the desire to listen to others with my heart.

James 1:19 says that “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” When we are quick to listen and hear someone’s heart, we will speak and get angry less.

Listen and be a part of the solution. Hear and help others heal.

Would you join me in listening to others? Would you take the time to understand where someone else is coming from and affirm their value as a person?

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:7-9).

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can love and listen well to others. Help me put down my own defenses and reach out to others. Help me to seek to understand rather than to be understood. Use me to be an agent of healing to those around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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